Connected Cars: Dangerous New Targets for Hackers

Professional car mechanic working in auto repair service.The technology trend with regard to vehicles has taken an exciting turn the last few years, and it seems everyone is getting caught up in the craze. Each update brings us closer and closer to driving a giant computer on wheels, and the many benefits to be had might be causing us to forget the dangers that come with them. A few of these dangers which have been brought up and discussed have been increased distracted driving and technological failure, which are certainly cause for concern, but one big one that people may forget is something that many computer users fear: hackers. Connected cars are great, but think about how dangerous it could be if a hacker is manipulating your system.

Your Car is Already a Computer

Many vehicle owners are unaware that a majority of the vehicles owned and operated today are already fairly complicated computers. Automobile manufacturers began incorporating integrated circuitsin the 1970’s, and from there it snowballed. Now just about every car has some sort of on board computer which controls and monitors things like fuel injection, system functions, and much more. You would be pretty hard pressed to find a car today that isn’t at least partially computerized, so why hasn’t hacking been a concern before? Up until now, computers were not connected to the internet and accessible from afar. It has already been proven by vehicle security specialists that control of a vehicle can be hijacked via a computer connected to the dash, though this still requires the hacker to be in the car. With the introduction of wireless connection, vehicles can be hacked from a distance, with potentially disastrous results.

Backseat Driving takes a Whole New Meaning

Just like the computers in your home, car computers which are “connected” will be vulnerable to malware, viruses, and malicious hackers. Cars will be able to download apps, which could bring harmful software along for the ride. You could be driving along and suddenly have control of brakes and steering stolen by a hacker. Rather than a backseat driver, you would have an internet driver, and they could make your car do whatever they wanted. Rather than having access to your virtual life through personal information, the hacker would have control of your life physically. These internet connected cars aren’t widely available or on the road just yet, but the time is fast approaching. Auto manufacturers will need to put defenses in place to protect connected drivers.

Protect Yourself from Connected Car Hackers

This is a serious concern which consumers should consider before purchasing a connected car. By driving one of these “smartphones on wheels” you will be opening yourself up for internet attacks, and as of now there isn’t perfect protection in place to prevent a hijacking hacker from putting you in physical danger on the road. Even so, manufacturers are working quickly to put adequate protection in place, and so far there are built-in firewalls and security chips in place which are being tested and improved daily. Be sure to do your research before buying and driving a connected car, so you know you will be safe from hackers and other internet dangers while you drive.

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